Never say never

This is an exciting time for my career.

Inspiration is coming from all sides.

Never say never.

It’s about time I shared my new(ish) role in archives, an area I never thought I’d work or be involved in. But I am determined to make the most of being challenged, stretched, encouraged, energised and coming into my own as a (information) professional from this amazing opportunity.

Firstly, how did I get there. Last year, two months before my contract in my previous role was due to expire I knew I had to take action. Two months is not a long time to secure employment. I came across my role at archives and at first glance I thought ‘Yeah right! Like I could get that job.’

My first day in my new role hit me hard. I wanted to run away back to my team. Thoughts like ‘I made a mistake’ and ‘This is not the place for me’ were running through my head. Throughout the day I received encouraging text messages from my (previous) team, telling me to stay put and that things will settle down and be okay soon.

A rule at archives that absolutely horrified me was that I couldn’t have my tea or food at my desk. Water only. What? No doing the ‘good morning’ rounds back to my desk with my tea? For the first few days, one way I found to cope with the change was to relate my thoughts and feelings to movies. A little odd, I know, but it helped. My first day I had forgotten to place ALL my food in the lunch room. I had my PEZ, teabags and biscuits in my bag, and well, this is what went through my mind….

Another feature of archives is the noise, or lack thereof. There is a (what seemed like at first) maze of corridors to repositories and areas of the buildings and it’s super quiet, super clean, almost clinical. Here’s what I anticipated to see in a corridor….

….followed by thinking I was Rizzo the Rat (the Muppet) running around a maze in a lab of a top secret government facility.

My role as a Research Officer basically involves finding out stuff. I support archivists in developing retention and disposal schedules, provide recordkeeping advice to clients, I’m placed on project work, keep up to date with happenings in emerging technologies, and a ‘fly on the wall’ in meetings. I love being involved in discussions and having a hand in as much as I can.

I’m surrounded by a wealth of experience. I have inspiring colleagues whose professionalism and knowledge are to be nothing short of admired and held in awe. Heading into work each day just to be around them are lessons in themselves.

I learn something everyday. Whether it be how to respond to a client in a particular way or something from another’s knowledge, wisdom or different perspective, I’m growing professionally every single day.

It’s not so much what I’m doing from day-to-day (though it plays an important part in my development), but the opportunities to learn through my colleagues and participating in meetings and discussions, that makes this time of my career exciting.

With so much happening around me and about me professionally, to make the most of my role and experience, I need to find a way to capture my lessons. I currently set aside half an hour each week for reflection, but I feel it’s not enough. Perhaps ‘bite-sized’, 10 minute daily reflections might be better to document learnings more immediately(?)

Inspiration is coming from all sides.

Not only am I making connections with experienced professionals at work, but I also continue to be amazed by those at my university and in my personal learning network. This year I’m looking forward to extending my current course to dip my toes into academic research (yes, you read correctly, I’m looking forward to it!) I continue to be enthusiastic about my involvement in the profession. I have a clearer idea of career direction and I’m feeling more confident in the professional development activities and steps I’m taking.

This is an exciting time for my career.

I honestly cannot begin to say how grateful I am to be where I’m at and the role I’m in. It’s taken me sometime to write this post, mostly because I’ve wanted it to be just so. I wonder if I’ll ever learn that waiting for ‘just so’ would ultimately mean not getting anything done at all. So while this post may not be perfect and may not say exactly what I wanted it to, I’m glad I’ve now shared it.

For the first few months in my new role I wondered if it was the place for me. I’ve since realised archives may not be ‘the’ place, but certainly a place I can see myself contributing to and develop aspects of my (information) professional self that will move my career forward. I’ve surprised myself working in archives. I guess you just don’t know when your career can take a turn.

Never say never.

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